Welcome to our blog

This is the story of two educators on one journey. Each day we will record our reflections on the process of being involved in an innovative educational environment. The decision on our part to leave the public education system was deliberate due to our growing frustrations over the factory "one size fits all" model of education. This model has dominated the educational landscape and is not designed to meet the needs of the 21st century learner. Step one in our journey was to find a place that would allow us the freedom to break out of the system. We needed a chance to just breath and facilitate learning in the ways that we both know are best for children. That step has led us to Rosemary Beach Florida to work with the students attending the OH Institute. The OH Institute is a unique educational environment that we find humane. The curriculum focus is on the individual learner with an infusion of technology project based learning. Currently, it has 20 students in grades 4-11 all of whom are seeking something different than what the factory system of education has to offer. This is where our adventure begins...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday January 12

Wednesday January 12

Today was a quick moving day. I was happy with elementary's ability to work for many intervals with a level of independence. I graded their writings today and they all seem to be progressing well. They did not get a writing frame today so they had to work on their writing without a certain level of support.

Amy is doing a really great job working with middle school and high school with their PBL work. She is able to organize them well and get them to continue to get a product down each day.

Music went well with all groups and I feel that the concert will go well. I still have some honest concerns about our youngest group, but oh well. . .that's how they roll.

Overall, I do loose a bit of sleep over the fact that we aren't doing any "outside" the box stuff, but I guess I understand why and I know the daily work is visible and important. I don't know when I'll take Davis and some others to the beach to do sextant navigation or get some field trips going. I understand that this is putting my own interests at the students (such as Three Idiot day and so on), but I've always gone the "pied piper" route and it has yielded my some very good results. I think I'm going to have to let this one go this year.

I'm feeling the same feeling I felt in October on my loss of freedom and ability to "play". Things are serious now, and that does lead to good work getting done, but I'm not real happy. I understand the importance of our guided PBL for elementary, middle school and high school, I just don't feel the work fits me. It's more like a workout that I have to focus on instead of a song I'm playing "from my heart." I'll keep this mostly hidden and do the right thing for the kids and everyone else at OH so that things keep going.


Today was a great day in terms of having the freedom of not being attached to FLVS. It is a little hard to do such a structured PBL because it takes both facilitators into the "do what I tell you to do" realm of instruction. This is not what we want to do so I try very hard to provide choice for the students whenever possible. I also stay upbeat and positive to allow for the students tofeel good about the structure. On the plus side of the structured PBL I find the students to be very engaged in the writing process. I enjoy reading their blogs and their reflections are helpful in the planning process.

About the structured process in general I do know that it is slowly killing Randy because it does not allow him to be the best facilitator that he can be. However, I also truly believe that by being this structured now we will have freedom to do great projects the rest of the spring. I guess that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel a bit more than Randy.

Right now there is a lot of momentum for the OH model with the addition of new students, trying to hire additional facilitators, and planning for students to travel to Telluride. It is hard to be in our position not knowing where we will be next year. We want to stay but are waiting to hear if OH will be able to afford us financially. Meanwhile we are supporting the hiring of other facilitators which may turn into our replacements. It is kind of an awkward mess.

However, what I know for sure is that whatever is meant to be will be. There are things that I can control like how hard I work and what I give to the students. I cannot control what other people think of me or whether or not they see the value of what Randy and I do. Today I am consciously choosing to focus on what I can do and not what I cannot control.

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